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By Sarah Thomsen
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. --
For its first meets of the Spring, the CSU swimming and diving team (2-5, 0-1 Mountain West) will face Northern Colorado (1-4, 0-1 Big Sky Conference) and New Mexico (2-2, 1-2 MW) back to back, Friday and Saturday, respectively. Saturday will be the first home meet of the new year at Moby Pool at noon MT. Admission is free.
With comparable records, the Rams head into the meets optimistic for wins. Last season, with three wins throughout the dual-meet season, two of those wins were against UNM (180-120) and UNC (193-106). Those wins continued a three-year streak against UNC and a 17-season streak against UNM.
“We should stack up pretty well,” Head Coach Chris Woodard said. “It’s hard to know what to expect because we haven’t raced since Nov. 19. We have made them race in practice, but that’s really no substitute for competition so I expect hard-fought matches against both.”
The Rams have a reason to be confident heading into the meets. While CSU’s campus was quiet over the winter break, Moby Pool was alive with the eager splashes of determined athletes.
The team augmented its training in Fort Collins with several days spent at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Woodard had two goals for the break.
“One, trying to get us healthy; we had a few injuries and illnesses,” Woodard said. “But more than anything one of the reasons that we wanted to swim at the OTC was not only the bump up in altitude, we were swimming at altitude and long-course practices, which we can’t have here, but outside the training aspect when you go to the OTC you have a lot of gadgets and specialists at your fingertips so we were able to do some technical work that I think is going to help us come conference.”
The most recent competition for the Rams, in Houston Nov. 19, marked a breakthrough for the team. With fewer athletes at the Cougar Classic Invite than their rivals, the Rams not only came away with personal and school records, but placed fifth out of 10 teams.
“I’d like to see us take another step forward from our Houston results,” Woodard said. “I know they were rested and they were out of altitude so I don’t necessarily expect them all to go better times, but I expect to see even better strategy swims that are tough people gutting out wins in their individual events, some really good relay events and relay times.”
The team is hoping its momentum from the Cougar Classic and hard work over the break will fuse into more wins in the dual meets and a winning record overall.
“One of the team goals was to finish at .500 or above, so with a winning record,” Woodard said, “and for them to accomplish what they need to just about win out. So they need to be on top of their game every single week. I expect each one of them will produce behind the blocks and when they need to lean on someone else they will lean on someone else and they’re going to deliver it.”
“I think we’re healthier, I think we’re definitely stronger and I think some people started to make some technical changes and we’ll find out come race time whether they’re actually able to implement them. So overall I was